Sep 9, 2012; Minneapolis, MN, USA; Minnesota Vikings fullback Jerome Felton (42) and tackle Matt Kalil (75) celebrate with running back Adrian Peterson (28) after he scores a touchdown against the Jacksonville Jaguars in the second quarter at the Metrodome. Vikings win 26-23. Mandatory Credit: Bruce Kluckhohn-USA TODAY Sports

Minnesota Vikings Position Battle: Running Backs

It’s that time of year where a team is loaded up on talent at many positions.  Sadly, not all of those players will go on to make the 53 man roster or the practice squad.  This the the second installment in the Minnesota Vikings position battle series and is all about the running backs!

Let’s take a look at the running backs currently on the roster:

Here’s a quick breakdown of each of these guys:

Joe Banyard is a regular staple of the Minnesota Vikings.  He has been a practice squad guy.  He’s been realeased.  And he’s been promoted to the 53 man roster.  It’s hard to predict the future for Banyard because the new coaching staff could have a different evaluation of the young man.

Dec 22, 2013; Cincinnati, OH, USA; Minnesota Vikings running back Adrian Peterson (28) on the field post game against the Cincinnati Bengals at Paul Brown Stadium. Cincinnati Bengals beat the Minnesota Vikings by the score of 42-14. Mandatory Credit: Trevor Ruszkowksi-USA TODAY Sports

Adrian Peterson is a lock to be on the 53.  The former league MVP and NFL leading rusher will be the featured back in this offense, but we could see his carries decrease a bit in order to limit his wear and tear.

Jerick McKinnon was a 3rd round draft pick by the Minnesota Vikings this year.  The coaching staff sounds really high on him as a 3rd down back who can catch the ball out of the backfield.  He has some excellent speed and could be an asset in what will hopefully be a high-octane offense.

Jerome Felton has been one of the top fullbacks in the NFL the last couple years.  Having a top tier blocker in front of Adrian Peterson is a priority in a run heavy offense like Minnesota has had recently.  While many NFL teams use a blocking tight end or bigger running back as a lead blocker, I expect Minnesota will want to keep Felton around.

Dominique Williams is a guy that I don’t know much about.  He is a rookie out of Wagner that is competing for a job with the team.  Even if he doesn’t end up making the final roster, we could see the 5’9″ Williams be a prime candidate for the Minnesota Vikings practice squad to help develop him.

Matt Asiata was last year’s third string running back.  After injures to Adrian Peterson and Toby Gerhart, he was forced into a starting role where he found the end zone several times but didn’t have a very impressive yards per carry ratio.  He’ll be the leading candidate for backup duties this year.

Zach Line found himself in injured reserve after starting games at fullback because of a suspension to Jerome Felton.  Once healthy, Felton returned to the starting job and Line found himself on injured reserve with a knee injury.  He is a good option as a backup fullback for the team.

My Prediction

Here are the players I see making the 53 man roster:

  • Adrian Peterson
  • Jerick McKinnon
  • Matt Asiata
  • Jerome Felton
  • Zach Line


Joe Banyard and Dominique Williams are the only two that I have not making the cut for the final roster.  With three running backs and two fullbacks, it may look a little crowded, but both Line and Asiata will both be on special teams as well.  The main superstar of this list is Adrian Peterson.  However, with him taking less carries this year, we should expect to see both Asiata and McKinnon getting some touches on game day.


Next Vikings Game View full schedule »
Sunday, Sep 77 Sep12:00at St. Louis RamsBuy Tickets
Dick's Sporting Goods presents "Hell Week":

Tags: Adrian Peterson Jerick Mckinnon Jerome Felton Matt Asiata Minnesota Vikings Zach Line

  • Josh Lampe

    I’m really happy we picked up McKinnon, he’s an absolute beast. I saw him last year while watching my NDSU Bison on the way to their 3rd straight FCS championship (Yeah, that’s right!). He looked like he was giving twice as much effort as anyone else on the field, and was extremely explosive. Finished his runs a lot like AP too, with that ‘I’m going to run you over!’ attitude. Awesome pick!!!

    • Adam Carlson

      I’m still on the fence about McKinnon, but he’s definitely got a really good skill set. I felt there were more polished runners available when the Vikings selected him. Hopefully he can realize some of that potential and show me that Minnesota made the right decision.

  • Bob T

    We have been spoiled with A.P. for 7 years now, but sure would like to see Mckinnon shine and become our future RB. The only problem is, Adrian probably has another 4 good years in him. But I really do like McKinnon’s skills and style.

    • Adam Carlson

      I don’t mind one bit being spoiled by having Peterson on the Vikings. But you’re right, fans of most teams don’t have the luxury of having a guy of his caliber on their team.

    • holymomentumbatman#84

      Bob, you forget…Adrian Peterson is not of this planet. He is a superhuman freak! It’ll be more than 4 years, my friend. Bank on it. He’s almost 30, looks 23, and is chiseled out of the side of a mountain. LeSean McCoy, eat your heart out. All Day, even at 30, is still the BEST running back in the game, and by the time he’s finished, will be considered one of the 3 greatest running backs EVER, if not THE best. SKOL VIKINGS!!

    • MikeH123

      I don’t believe McKinnon will be the Vikings starting RB now or in the future. He is a hybrid RB like Norv Turner had with Darren Sproles used mainly on passing downs.

      • holymomentumbatman#84

        I think there IS A POSSIBILITY that somewhere down the road, McKinnon could be a starter, but he’ll have to have a bigger bodied bruiser back, (you know, a BBBB) LOL, in front of him. And not one to just block for him, but that has the ability to hit a hole quickly, (before it shuts), and bust one every now and then. He’s gotta block like Felton, be as strong as Gerhart was, but scoot a little bit faster than either one. I got HIGH standards and expectations, but ya know, that’s the way this Viking fanatic rolls! I want that trophy in Minneapolis, and rings on all of the players’ and coaches’ fingers as bad as THEY DO. SKOL VIKINGS!!

  • MikeH123

    I like what Jerick McKinnon offers, but did the Vikings really have to burn a #3 on him? Good running backs can be obtained in the 5th or 6th rounds. Maybe if the Vikings had drafted an outside CB in the 3rd round, they could have got a RB in the 6th round and wouldn’t have to go nuts trying to find 3 CBs in the later rounds. Besides CB, I wanted a MLB and X WR (to replace Simpson) even more.

    • MikeH123

      With the McKinnon pick, the Vikings could have drafted either Bashaud Breeland or Jaylen Watkins (two 6-foot corners).

      • holymomentumbatman#84

        Why, man?? I think it’s f#@*ing funny!! LMAO!!

    • holymomentumbatman#84

      I kinda agree with you there, Mike. It’s just that there was no way of knowing whether or not McKinnon would’ve been there a couple of rounds later. You know hindsight is 20/20, as they say. BUT, I TOTALLY AGREE with you on the positions of need that should have been addressed better than they were. I, too, desperately wanted a 6′+ HARD HITTING SHUT ABSOLUTE SHUT DOWN CORNER, AND a safety to accompany #22, that hits, tack

    • kyle

      McKinnon, while not as complete of back as the others, is as much of an athlete as the rest. I think people just need to give this kid as well as the late round corners a shot before crucifying these guys. As far as WR’s go, I’d rather see Adam Thielen take Simpson’s spot on the roster. He’s just as quick, runs better routes and has sure hands. The only major hole I see is at linebacker. How will Barr do after missing 3 weeks of the off season program? Who’s going to win the mike battle? I do see a revamped secondary with Rhodes, Munnerlyn and even Cox. Say what you want, but he’s the ideal fit opposite of Rhodes in the nickel. He thrived in a press scheme with the jaguars and could be a hidden gem on this team. If he regains his form from Jacksonville, then we’ll at least be 3 deep with corners. That’s a luxury we haven’t had in a long time. Really anxious to see who wins the SS spot. Don’t sleep on Exum. Think he’ll surprise a lot of people.

  • holymomentumbatman#84

    Then we all 3 agree that McKinnon should be a part of the 53 man roster. I saw him at the combine, and watched some of his game film. His motor never stops, is quick and shifty, (makes people miss in the open field), and as an added bonus, can catch well coming out of the backfield. Combined, along with intangibles, makes McKinnon a definite 3rd round STEAL! We’ll just have to wait and see how well he can adjust to the pro level. Coming from a small college, that might be more difficult for him. So far though, judging by the news that’s been coming out of OTA’s, he is not going to have as many problems as one might think. From my standpoint, he’s going to look really good in the purple and gold. SKOL VIKINGS!!